I only discovered today that the n810 doesn't have any swap file turned on by default. It has only 128Mb of memory, which is quite easy to fill up. And when you fill up the memory you don't get a 'consumer friendly dialog' telling you that your machine is full. No instead of anything helpful, the machine will behave slowly, erratically and then ultimately crash. And after is has crashed you will often find that it won't boot anymore and you need to restore your root partition from a backup.
Read this review about the n810, and look for phrases that might hint the author has hit problems with not having a swap file:
..it still isn't a perfect experience, thanks to lagging performance
..really this device needs to be faster in every way. We'd like to see apps pop open instantly, and YouTube videos play smoothly
The worst part, though, was the crashes. Often we had to close out of programs that became unresponsive, usually the Maps program or the Web browser, and a few times we found it necessary to restart the device entirely when ran app simply wouldn't open
I might be wrong and maybe the above problems weren't to do with running out of memory or not having enough memory, but it sounds a lot like it might be.
I've been having problems all the time with running out of memory when compiling stuff, and was about to give up trying to build anything serious on the device itself when I stumbled upon this post. The 'Virtual' tab under 'Memory' in the control panel allows you to set up a swap file '/media/mmc2/.swap' of up to 128Mb on the internal flash card. If you are concerned about wearing out the flash you can alternatively set up a 256Mb swap file on the exchangeable flash card, from the command line like this:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/media/mmc1/.swap bs=1M count=256 mkswap /media/mmc1/.swap # # Add this line to /etc/fstab: /media/mmc1/.swap none swap sw 0 0 # # Add this to /etc/init.d/rcS, so that the swap mounts on startup swapon -a
The n810 is so very nearly a great device, but little things like not having enough memory can spoil it. I think it really needs 256Mb of DDR ram instead of 128Mb, and then that would allow the device to run more apps, double buffer widget painting, have more than 64k colours with alpha channel and so on. But on top of that, the well hidden techie style 'Virtual' tab in the control panel with various settings of memory sizes, to turn on 'swap' is just so consumer hostile. If I'm a techie and didn't even realise about this problem for three weeks, what chance has an ordinary person?
baldhead root 501% swapon -s swapon: invalid option -- s BusyBox v1.6.1 (2008-05-22 10:32:35 EEST) multi-call binary Usage: swapon [-a] [DEVICE]
Umm, well I'd like to be a fan of BusyBox too, but the above is a typical experience with the thing. But sorry I've done enough ranting for now..
Apologies to Nokia who kindly donated lots of n810s to the KDE devs, I still think it's great and am very excited about it, and I hope I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth.